Thursday, March 22, 2012

Hanayama Cast Chain Puzzle

I have to say that I was really looking forward to getting the Cast Chain Puzzle.  This is my second cast puzzle from Japanese manufacturer Hanayama and designed by Oscar Van Deventer.  The first being the Cast News Puzzle.  These are great puzzles because most fit well in your pocket and they are very affordable.  I was able to get the Chain Puzzle on sale but the regular price is quite reasonable.  You can find it at Puzzle Master and other websites.  First off, the puzzle looks great and feels good in my hands.  I also like the sound of the metal as I was trying to solve this thing.  The objective of the puzzle is to disassembly and reassembles the puzzle.  The Hanayama Company rates their puzzles difficulty between 1 and 6 stars with 6 being very difficult.  This puzzle is rated as a 6 so I was looking forward to the challenge.  The puzzle didn’t disappoint because it did take me a while to figure it out.

It was interesting how I solved the puzzle.  Don’t worry I’m not going to give the solution.  When I’m solving puzzles I sometimes imagine a scenario to make things more interesting.  For this puzzle, I imagined that I was trapped in a dungeon cell.  The cell door was locked by a chain that was completely wielded together but the demon guard didn’t wield one part right.  The puzzle part!!!  My wife thinks I’m a dork but the moment when I’m trapped in a dungeon cell by a demon guard I’ll be ready.  You wait and see.  Oh man now I feet like that kid from the Charlie Brown pumpkin patch movie.  Anyway, the puzzle arrived at my place in the evening and I played with it a little bit but I was not able to solve it.  That night I had a dream where I solved the puzzle and the next day I used the “dream method” to solve the puzzle.  It was kind of weird I know but hey it worked.  For me it’s not just about solving the puzzle.  I want to know how the puzzle works and how can I make it harder to solve.  Don’t get me wrong.  The thing was not easy but if you want to make the puzzle a bit more challenging then see the second pic.  You basically crisscross the end links.  In my opinion, this makes the puzzle diabolical especially if you hand the chain in this state to someone who has little experience with puzzles.  Overall, this is a great puzzle and I highly recommend it.  I would also say that you might want to wash your hands after using the puzzle because the metal smell will stay on them.  Of course, if you don’t mind your sandwich smelling like metal then go for it.


  1. Great review, Moises! This is actually one of the few Hanayamas that I don't have. There is an interesting article by Oskar Van Deventer (the inventor) about how this puzzle was designed. Something about a chain where it was impossible to remove just a single link. Unfortunately, I forget where exactly one can find this article.

  2. Thanks George. This is a great puzzle. I'll have to try and find that article because I like the story behind puzzles. Recently Lionel over at renegade recommended an author by the name of Jerry Slocum so I did a search and realized that I already own some of his work! A few years ago a bought a Tangram puzzle. The puzzle came with a book by Jerry. I didn't know until recently about his influence in the mechanical puzzle world. Knowing the history of Tangram made the puzzle a lot more fun!

  3. I love the dungeon! I could just picture myself there trying to undo this puzzle. My luck though, I'd be stuck there for the rest of my life....Thanks for the read.

  4. Thanks katsmom. Don't worry just punch out the guard and use its teeth to file down the chain ;)



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